Daily Prelims Notes 5 April 2021
- April 5, 2021
- Posted by: admin1
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
5 April 2021
Table Of Contents
- FOREST FIRE
- EXCISE DUTY
- VACCINE PASSPORT
- PRAAPTI PORTAL
- GENE TRANSFER
- SPUTNIK V
- STAND UP INDIA SCHEME
- RAFALE AIRCRAFT
Context: Security agencies working to ascertain naxals claim that they abducted a CoBRA commando: Sources
Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA)
- COBRA is a special operation unit of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) of India.
- The operation unit is skilled in the guerrilla tactics and jungle warfare.
- It established in the year 2009 to counter the Naxalite problem.
- It is deployed to tackle the insurgent groups who are engaged in asymmetrical warfare.
- Currently, there are ten battalions of CoBRA.
- The battalions are one of the most experienced and successful law enforcement units.
- Recently, a contingent of women personnel has been inducted into it.
First Women CoBRA Unit
- A member of 34 CRPF women personnel contingent have been selected from 6 all-women battalions of CRPF. They will now undergo pre-induction training for 3 months.
- After that, they will be deployed with the units in Naxal violence-affected districts in the state of Chhattisgarh.
Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF)
- It is largest Central Armed Police Force in India. The force works under Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
- It assists the State or Union Territories in the police operations to maintain the law & order and counter insurgency.
- It was established as the Crown Representative’s Police in July 1939. After Indian Independence, it was renamed as CRPF in accordance with the CRPF Act.
Subject : Science & tech
Context : Demand for plasma increases amid Covid case spike but donations low
- Plasma is the liquid part of the blood.
- Convalescent plasma, extracted from the blood of patients recovering from an infection, is a source of antibodies against the infection.
- The therapy involves using their plasma to help others recover.
- For Covid-19, this has been one of the treatment options.
- The donor would have to be a documented case of Covid-19 and healthy for 28 days since the last symptoms.
Convalescent plasma therapy
- Convalescent plasma therapy uses blood from people who have recovered from an illness to help others recover.
- Blood donated by people who have recovered from Covid-19 has antibodies to the virus that causes it.
- The donated blood is processed to remove blood cells, leaving behind liquid (plasma) and antibodies. These can be given to people with Covid-19 to boost their ability to fight the virus.
Subject : Environment
Context : Recently, Uttarakhand has witnessed over 1,000 incidents of forest fire over the last six months, including 45 in the last 24 hours alone.
- Since the start of 2021, there has been a series of forest fires in Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland-Manipur border, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat, including in wildlife sanctuaries.
- April-May is the season when forest fires take place in various parts of the country.
- But forest fires have been more frequent than usual in Uttarakhand and have also taken place during winter; dry soil caused by a weak monsoon is being seen as one of the causes.
- Forest fires can be caused by a number of natural causes, but officials say many major fires in India are triggered mainly by human activities.
Causes of Forest Fires
- It can be caused by a number of natural causes, but officials say many major fires in India are triggered mainly by human activities.
- The emerging studies link climate change to rising instances of fires globally, especially the massive fires of the Amazon forests in Brazil and in Australia in the last two years.
- The fires of longer duration, increasing intensity, higher frequency and highly inflammable nature are all being linked to climate change.
- In India, forest fires are most commonly reported during March and April, when the ground has large quantities of dry wood, logs, dead leaves, stumps, dry grass and weeds.
- Under natural circumstances, extreme heat and dryness, friction created by rubbing of branches with each other also have been known to initiate fire.
How prone to fire are India’s forests?
- As of 2019, about 21.67% (7,12,249sq km) of the country’s geographical area is identified as forest, according to the India State of Forest Report 2019 (ISFR) released by the Forest Survey of India (FSI), Dehradun. Tree cover makes up another 2.89% (95, 027 sq km).
- Based on previous fire incidents and recorded events, forests of the Northeast and central India regions are the most vulnerable areas to forest fires, the FSI has said. Forests in Assam, Mizoram and Tripura have been identified as ‘extremely prone’ to forest fire.
- Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh are the two states that witness the most frequent forest fires annually.
Efforts to protect forests from fire
- In 2004, the FSI developed the Forest Fire Alert System to monitor forest fires in real time.
- In its advanced version launched in January 2019, the system now uses satellite information gathered from NASA and ISRO.
- The real-time fire information from identified fire hotspots is gathered using MODIS sensors (1km by 1km grid) and electronically transmitted to FSI.
Subject : Economics
Context : Bringing petrol and diesel under GST will not lower fuel oil prices by itself, unless both Union and state governments are willing to take deep revenue cuts.
- Excise duty is a form of tax imposed on goods for their production, licensing and sale.
- It is the opposite of Customs duty in sense that it applies to goods manufactured domestically in the country, while Customs is levied on those coming from outside of the country.
- At the central level, excise duty earlier used to be levied as Central Excise Duty, Additional Excise Duty, etc.
- Excise duty was levied on manufactured goods and levied at the time of removal of goods, while GST is levied on the supply of goods and services.
Purview of excise duty
- The GST introduction in July 2017 subsumed many types of excise duty.
- Today, excise duty applies only on petroleum and liquor.
- Alcohol does not come under the purview of GST as exclusion mandated by constitutional provision.
- States levy taxes on alcohol according to the same practice as was prevalent before the rollout of GST.
- After GST was introduced, excise duty was replaced by central GST because excise was levied by the central government. The revenue generated from CGST goes to the central government.
Types of excise duty in India
- Before GST kicked in, there were three kinds of excise duties in India.
Basic Excise Duty
- Basic excise duty is also known as the Central Value Added Tax (CENVAT). This category of excise duty was levied on goods that were classified under the first schedule of the Central Excise Tariff Act, 1985.
- This duty was levied under Section 3 (1) (a) of the Central Excise Act, 1944. This duty applied on all goods except salt.
Additional Excise Duty
- Additional excise duty was levied on goods of high importance, under the Additional Excise under Additional Duties of Excise (Goods of Special Importance) Act, 1957.
- This duty was levied on some special category of goods.
Special Excise Duty
- This type of excise duty was levied on special goods classified under the Second Schedule to the Central Excise Tariff Act, 1985.
- Presently the central excise duty comprises of a Basic Excise Duty, Special Additional Excise Duty and Additional Excise Duty (Road and Infrastructure Cess) on auto fuels.
Subject : Current Events
Context : Any “Covid passport” scheme to prove people in England are safe to attend mass-audience events would be “time-limited”, the government said.
- A vaccine passport is an e-certificate that stores and records jabs and Covid-19 test status.
- It can be kept in a smartphone app or in other digital formats.
- Its contents can be flashed at security checkpoints when people travel across borders.
- The idea is modelled on the proof of vaccination that several countries required even before the pandemic.
- Travellers from many African countries to the USA or India are required to submit proof that they have been vaccinated against diseases such as yellow fever.
- In February 2021, Israel became the first country to introduce a certification system that allows those who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 to access certain facilities and events.
Function of Vaccine Passports:
- Will digitise vaccination records across countries.
- Supposed to function as proof that the holder has been vaccinated against Covid-19 and is, therefore, safe.
Potential Beneficiary of the Vaccine Passports:
- The primary benefit will be to the tourism and the hospitality industries, which are both seen as being at the heart of Covid-19 spread and are the worst hit by the pandemic.
- The international air travel, which suffered massively because of the outbreak.
- Several associations and non-profits have been issuing their own versions for international travel:
- IATA Travel Pass: The global trade body representing airlines (The International Air Transport Association) is developing an app called IATA Travel Pass that will provide airlines and other aviation industry stakeholders with a common platform to check for the proof of vaccination and its validity.
- CommonPass: Non-profit Commons Project has been trying out an app called CommonPass, which contains a passenger’s vaccination record.
Subject : Governance
Context : Distribution companies (discoms) owed a total of Rs 87,888 crore to power generation firms in February 2020, according to portal PRAAPTI.
- The Union Ministry of Power has launched web portal and app namely PRAAPTI (Payment Ratification And Analysis in Power procurement for bringing Transparency in Invoicing of generators).
- The webportal and app aims to bring transparency in power purchase transactions between Generators and Discoms.
- The PRAAPTI app and web Portal will capture invoicing and payment data for various long term Power Purchasing Agreements (PPAs) from power generation companies (generators).
- This will help stakeholders in getting month-wise and legacy data on outstanding amounts of Discoms against power purchase.
- The PRAAPTI app will also allow users to know the details related to payments made by Discoms to power generators and when they were made.
- It will also enable consumers to evaluate financial performance of their Discoms in terms of payments being made to generators.
- The PRAAPTI portal will also help DISCOMs and GENCOs to reconcile their outstanding payments.
- It will facilitate relative assessment of various State DISCOMs on ease of making payments to various generators and will also help make transactions in power Sector more transparent.
Subject : Science & tech
Context : In a first, gene-transfer between insects & plants has just been reported
- The finding, reported today in Cell1, is the first known example of a natural gene transfer from a plant to an insect.
- It also explains one reason why the whitefly Bemisiatabaci is so adept at munching on crops: the gene that it swiped from plants enables it to neutralize a toxin that some plants produce to defend against insects.
- It shows whitefly (Bemisiatabaci) is able to nuetralise a toxin that is made by any plants, including the plants, that the insect attacks, by having stolen a gene from the plant host millions of years ago, . It is the first such instance of genetic transfer between plants and insects.
- But, so far, insect-pests were known to have appropriated microbial and fungal genes to be better able to prey on plants, but with the new research showing a more direct commandeering of genes, this could help reimagine crop protection.
Subject : Science & tech
Context : Nod soon for Sputnik V rollout, amid virus surge.
- The vaccine has been called Sputnik V, named after the first artificial Earth satellite, Sputnik-I launched by the Soviet Union.
- It is the first Covid-19 vaccine to be approved.
- This vaccine has been developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute in collaboration with the Russia’s defence ministry.
- The vaccine is based on the DNA of a SARS-CoV-2 type adenovirus, a common cold virus.
- The vaccine uses the weakened virus to deliver small parts of a pathogen and stimulate an immune response.
- The vaccine is administered in two doses and consists of two types of a human adenovirus, each carrying an S-antigen of the new coronavirus, which enter human cells and produce an immune response.
Subject : Government Schemes
Context : Stand Up India scheme: Rs 25,586 crore sanctioned to ST, SC, women entrepreneurs.
- Stand Up India Scheme was launched on 5 April 2016 to promote entrepreneurship at the grass-root level of economic empowerment and job creation.
- This scheme seeks to leverage the institutional credit structure to reach out to the underserved sector of people such as SCs, STs and Women Entrepreneurs.
- The objective of this scheme is to facilitate bank loans between Rs.10 lakh and Rs.1 crore to at least one SC or ST borrower and at least one woman borrower per bank branch for setting up a Greenfield enterprise.
- The offices of SIDBI and NABARD shall be designated Stand-Up Connect Centres (SUCC)
Eligibility under Stand Up India Scheme
- SC/ST and/or women entrepreneurs; above 18 years of age
- Loans under the scheme are available for only Greenfield project
- Borrower should not be in default to any bank or financial institution
- In case of non-individual enterprises at least 51% of the shareholding and controlling stake should be held by either an SC/ST or Woman entrepreneur.
Subject : National Organisations
Context :A delay in appointing members of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the apex body of the Income Tax Department, is puzzling the entire revenue service and tax bureaucracy.
- The Central Board of Direct Taxes is a statutory authority functioning under the Central Board of Revenue Act, 1963.
- The officials of the Board in their ex-officio capacity also function as a Division of the Ministry of Finance dealing with matters relating to levy and collection of direct taxes.
- The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) is a part of the Department of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance, Government of India.
- It provides essential inputs for policy and planning of direct taxes in India and is also responsible for administration of the direct tax laws through Income Tax Department.
- It is India’s official Financial Action Task Force unit.
- The Central Board of Revenue as the Department apex body charged with the administration of taxes came into existence as a result of the Central Board of Revenue Act, 1924.
- Initially the Board was in charge of both direct and indirect taxes. However, when the administration of taxes became too unwieldy for one Board to handle, the Board was split up into two, namely the Central Board of Direct Taxes and Central Board of Excise and Customs in 1964.
- The CBDT Chairman and Members of CBDT are selected from Indian Revenue Service (IRS), a premier civil service of India, whose members constitute the top management of Income Tax Department.
Subject : Defence
Context : India will receive another 8 to 9 Rafale jets from France by mid-May, with some expected later this month, completing the first squadron of the fighters in the Indian Air Force (IAF), according to a defence official.
- With the inductions this month set to complete the first squadron, which currently has 14 jets, the IAF is all set to operationalise the second Rafale squadron at Hasimara in West Bengal later this month.
- Last September, the IAF inducted the batch of five Rafales, of the 36 contracted from France under a €7.87 billion Inter-Governmental Agreement signed in September 2016 with 13 India Specific Enhancements (ISE).
- The first batch of five jets, three single-seat and two twin-seater trainers, were formally inducted into the No. 17 ‘Golden Arrows’ squadron of the IAF last September at the Ambala Air Force station.
- The second batch of three Rafales arrived in India last November. The third batch of three Rafales arrived in India in January. The fourth batch of three jets arrived on March 31.
Rafale Fighter Jets
- These are twin-engine medium multi-role combat aircraft.
- Rafale jets are developed by the French company Dassault Aviation and they can carry out interceptions during the same flight.
- Aircraft is fitted with an on-board oxygen generation system (OBOGS) and that is why; it does not require liquid oxygen re-filling or ground support for oxygen production.
- The aircraft are capable of carrying a range of potent weapons. European missile maker MBDA’s Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile, SCALP cruise missiles and MICA weapons system will be the mainstay of the weapons package of the Rafale jets.